Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Anderson Earl Porter, March 30, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Childhood & Early Religious Discovery

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Partial Transcript: OK. I think we're good--

Segment Synopsis: Porter talks about growing up poor what that was like for him, especially during the holidays. He also describes his early entry into the Christian face and what it all meant for him and his family. Porter describes how faith allowed him to overcome hardships in his life such as racial discrimination he and his family were subject to.

Keywords: Background; Hardships

Subjects: Childhood; Christianity; Christians; Christmas; Discrimination; Faith; Poverty.; Racism

00:04:15 - Late Youth & the Pursuit of Ministry

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. Um, getting to like high school or like that later portion of education, then that discrimination become harder or like worse, like becoming more of an adult?

Segment Synopsis: Porter discusses his choice to become a minister, and the support his family gave. He mentions that before he made that choice that he had a passion for art and considered pursuing printing or writing as a career. Porter says he was able to go of to college because of the implementation of the G.I. Bill.

Keywords: Colleges; G.I. Bill; Ministers; Ministry

Subjects: Christianity; Church work.; Clergy; God; High schools; Race discrimination.

00:07:53 - Faith & Activism

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Partial Transcript: Now I kind of want to shift towards more of the civil rights--your work in civil rights.

Segment Synopsis: Porter became a strong voice and supporter of the Civil Rights Movement as soon as he began a career in ministry. He describes how many old members of the church did not appreciate his strong stances on the issue, but the new members were strong support. Porter used his ministry platform to speak out about civil rights even though he compares West Chester at the time to heavily segregated supported cities of the south like Atlanta.

Keywords: Ministers

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Christianity; Church; Civil Rights movement; Segregation.; West Chester (Pa.)

00:13:46 - Work with the NAACP

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Partial Transcript: When did you first get involved with the NAACP?

Segment Synopsis: Porter talks about working as a spokesperson for the NAACP during its early days, and doing a lot of traveling and recruiting for the organization. Porter mentions that he also assisted in writing speeches and gaining support as a local representative.

Keywords: Conventions; Local representative; NAACP; Speech writing; Spokesperson

Subjects: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.; Speechwriting

00:14:55 - Porter and Dr. King / The March on Washington

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Partial Transcript: Uh-huh. Yeah. My next question, when did you first hear about Dr. King?

Segment Synopsis: Porter says he first heard of Martin Luther King Jr. from one of his speeches and was soon introduced to Bayard Rustin who eventually got him a spot as a chairman for the March on Washington. He discusses his role in organizing, training and moving the busloads of people to Washington and got close seats to the famous "I have a Dream' speech. Porter says he was so inspired by Dr. King and his ministry that he carried over King's skills into his own ministry. Porter describes how King's death made him work even harder to achieve Dr. Kings dream and make it a reality.

Keywords: FBI; March on Washington

Subjects: Farmer, Jim; Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972.; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.; Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987.; United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.

00:20:12 - Vietnam War Perspective

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, ok, um, I want to shift gears here a little to talk a little bit about the Vietnam War.

Segment Synopsis: Porter was in agreeance with Martin Luthor King Jr's stance on the war and echoed his views in his ministry, although he did not focus on the anti-war movement. He mentions that the anti-war movement was not very active in West Chester at the time, but he still did not agree with the fighting, especially members of the black community being drafted.

Keywords: Anti-war protesters; Black communities; MLK; Selective Service (military draft)

Subjects: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.; West Chester (Pa.)

00:23:12 - Reflection on Civil Rights

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you think today, um, the country is going forwards or backwards when it comes to treating the black community fairly?

Segment Synopsis: Porter mentions that progression towards equality in terms of civil rights is still moving forward but slowly. He reflects on his own work in civil rights activism, and says he is proud of the work he has done in the past. He finishes the interview by talking about how he sees people and the world around him while also giving advice to current and future activists.

Keywords: Activism; African American communities; Black communities; Racial Discrimination

Subjects: Civil rights movement; Faith; Race discrimination.; Racism